Wednesday, 5 October 2011

From the 19th to the 5th ~ we see some of Paris in between meals!

Tuesday morning was about 20 degrees cooler than Sunday and Monday, so we decided it was a good day to go to Belleville and Parc Buttes Chaumont, in the 19th and 20 arrondissments, on the outer edge of Northern Paris.  We have visited both before and really enjoy that part of Paris. It's a lot less touristy, more earthy and ethnic, but no less Parisian than the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.

We took the metro to the Belleville station and headed towards rue Denoyer, a little street that has been taken over by Parisian grafitti artists.  We discovered it last fall when we took a walk with a fellow Our Paris Forum poster and he introduced us to this vibrant area. We were there around 11am and the street was a lot less busy than when we were there last year, so Den was able to take lots of pictures at his leisure.  Some of the art is really interesting and it's very expressive.

We stumbled upon a lively market along Boulevard de Belleville that went on for more than 10 city blocks.  The stalls were packed with people doing their shopping ~ fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, herbs, clothing, costume jewelery, shoes, batteries, you name it, you could buy it here.  People from all over the world were selling and buying and it was a feast for the eyes, nose and mind.  We've been to several street markets in Paris, but never one so lively and diverse.

Upon leaving the market, we strolled to Place Maurice Chevalier and then made our way toward Parc Belleville, from where you can get fantastic views of Paris down below, including a little landmark you may recognize.

Before we left this morning, I had called Le Baratin to see if they had space for us for lunch.  We had gone last year and so enjoyed our meal, we knew we wanted to go back.  Luckily they were able to squeeze us in and so we got to enjoy Raquel Carera's wonderfully earthy cooking. She is from Argentina and has made this tiny restaurant far from the center of Paris into a "go to" place. They have a great value lunch menu ~ 3 course for 18 euros.  Den had a little square of a veggie that resembles spinach but I can't remember what it's called.  I had a white bean soup for entree.  Den had pork with very creamy mashed potatoes and I had a red tuna stew which was fantastic ~ the tuna was still rare in the middle, just the way I like it.  Apple crumble and a cheese course completed the meal and we stumbled out very full and happy!

We made the trek to Parc des Buttes Chaumont in an effort to walk off some of the many calories (and wine) consumed at lunch.  This is another really cool park, complete with waterfalls, lakes, a suspension bridge and a point high above the city with great views of Paris, including Sacre Coeur.  We strolled for over an hour and then took the #75 bus in front of the 19th arrondissement city hall building which took us through the 19th, 10th, 3rd and 1st districts and left us about 10 minutes from our apartment.  This is what I love about Paris ~ no matter how many times we go, we always discover new routes, new things to see, new places to experience.

We made it back to the apartment a little after 5pm and had time to rest and relax and freshen up before leaving for our 7:30 reservation at Les Papilles, a wine bar in the 5th near Luxembourg Gardens. We walked along the Seine and enjoyed the cooler fall air of Paris.

We had eaten lunch here last fall (gee, this sounds familiar, see a few paragraphs above, lol) and really wanted to try dinner this time. I had made reservations before leaving Canada and we saw them turn away at least 5 couples while we were there.  The chef serves a market driven menu and there are no choices to be made beyond your wine choice.  4 courses for 33 euros (and remember that this includes all taxes and service in Europe) is wonderful value for the delicious meal we savoured.  The wall is lined with wine bottles and they are available at cost plus a 7 euro corkage fee.

We started with a tomato gazpacho which is served in 2 stages.  Your bowl comes with the dry ingredients at the bottom and you ladle the broth from a tureen served at your table.  Everything was so fresh and light, with the crunchy vegetables, croutons and lardons providing a great contrast to the cool tomato soup.

We were then served a lamb shoulder stew with carrots, red onions and curry served over basmati rice flavoured with peppers and grilled pineapple.  Again, the stew and rice and served separately and you put them together in the proportion that works best for you.

The tables are set very close together, as is typical of many Parisian restaurants and we were lucky to have a friendly young couple from Sydney, Australia seated next to us.  They are both originally from Indonesia but have both lived in Australia for several years.  They were on a 5 week honeymoon through several European countries and were enjoying Paris very much.  She had done extensive research and had a great restaurant list, which she was determined to go through, even if it means a return visit to Paris.  Ah, another addict is born.

We enjoyed 2 more delicious courses ~ a brie served with a quennelle of stewed apples and a raspberry mousse full of little crunchy bits of chocolate.  3 and a half hours after we sat down for dinner, we stumbled out of Les Papilles, very full and very content.  We walked slowly home, enjoying the streets still full of people out taking advantage of a beautiful fall evening in Paris.  Home by midnight and no plans the next day besides a lunch reservation at 1pm meant we could enjoy a good nights sleep.

1 comment:

  1. ahhh,.. what a nice Paris fix to start my day Murielle! Merci!